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How To Survive Black Friday

I am making this post to my blog today with exactly one month to Christmas.  Several years ago, a man called during my nationally syndicated radio show and told me that one year he had no money to buy Christmas gifts for his family.  He explained that he and his wife and his children all agreed to write a letter to each family member sharing what they appreciated and loved about that person in lieu of any gifts that Christmas.  As the man’s voice began to crack as he was overcome by emotion, he explained that this was the greatest Christmas his family ever had.  He went on to share that although many Christmas seasons had come and gone, that those letters were the most wonderful gift that each of them had ever received.  I remember wiping a few tears away from my own eyes after taking this call.  I still think frequently of this man, his call to my show, and how it changed forever how I think of Christmas.  How many neckties are never worn, how many food processors never used, but these letters will be cherished forever.  It is stories like this one that really teach us the true meaning of this special season of the year.

This Friday is the considered the biggest shopping day of the year.  The day after Thanksgiving has been long called Black Friday. A name derived from the idea that this day represents the day that many retailers become profitable for the year (and are in the black financially). I have never personally been one to get up at 4 am to line up outside these stores to cash in on so-called door-buster sales.  A Wal-Mart employee was actually trampled to death last year while opening the front door for such an event.  While there is quite a lot of hysteria, it is also true that there are some legitimately great bargains to be had.

There is even an official website for Black Friday.  The site provides shoppers a one stop source for the latest sales offers and how to cash in on them.  Two more sites also claim the status of official Black Friday status:

Online retailers have usually waited to have their big day the beginning of the next week (called Cyber Monday). Many, like Amazon, have decided to go head to head with their bricks and mortar counterparts and have sales of their own on Friday.  Check out the special web page Amazon has for their Black Friday deals.  For those on Twitter, you can follow to be tweeted on the latest sales in real time. 

There is even a Black Friday app for your iPhone.  The app provides lists of sales and even maps on store locations.  No, we are not doing anything with Black Friday at Christian Chirp (maybe next year and then again maybe not).

We have been doing our own research at Christian and can report that the biggest sales will likely be at Best Buy, Sears, Wal-Mart, and Target.  Among the deals we have gotten the scoop on:

  • Incredible discounts on large screen TV’s at many retailers with price levels never seen before.
  • Best Buy is offering a Hewlett Packard laptop for $197
  • Wal-Mart offering a Blu Ray player for $78.  DVDs for $2, clothing and apparel for $3 and laptops for $300 and the Tom Tom GPS for just $59.
  • Shoppers at Target can by men’s jeans, khakis or dress pants for just $8 as well as a Westinghouse 32 inch HDTV for just $246
  • Amazon is selling the Kodak Zi6 HD pocket video camera for only $99.  This is the same video camera I use for my own online videos (and I paid over $200 for it).
  • Toys R Us says that they are offering “their lowest prices ever” on toys, dolls, games, and electronics. A $50 gift card will be given to all those who purchase an iPod Touch. Discounts of up to 85 percent can be found on Nintendo games for prices as low as $10.

Keep in mind the following:

  • Most stores will not offer rain checks.  Once a sale item is sold out, that will be it.
  • There may be some important fine print, such as limits on how many items will be sold at the special price at each store, etc…

A final word of caution…  No matter how great the deal, don’t spend more than you can afford.  You need to create a budget and commit to it.  There is no deal good enough worth busting your budget over.  If you can’t adhere to this principle, stay home on Friday.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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